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Australian Auto Clubs accommodation STAR rating system in eclipse

March 04, 2010
Australian Auto Clubs accommodation STAR rating system in eclipse

AAA Tourism is not a business leader and it is not succeeding because of itself, CEO Peter Blackwell told delegates at the Top Tourist Parks of Australia forum in Brisbane.

Blackwell formerly of AA New Zealand spoke to 91 Top Tourist Parks of Australia delegates at Brisbane's Sofitel. Top Tourist Parks committed senior executives and State Representatives to a three year STAR rating accommodation evaluation group which suddenly found their commitment wasted when AAAT pulled the plug on the process.

Three senior State Representative members of the Top Tourist Parks chain told Peter Blackwell in question time at the end of his delivery that Top Tourist Parks had concerns about AAT's handling and direction of the latest STAR rating review.

Victorian State Representative David McIvor forcefully underlined industry concerns at the lack of consultation. South Australian State Representative Richard Davis said, based on extensive experience in the industry he had concerns about the potential timing of any delivery of STAR rating solutions.

But Davis pointed to the core direction for STARS when he said: Consistency (in STAR rating) is the thing we have to achieve.

We (Top Tourist Parks) have been the biggest supporter of AAA Tourism for a long time, Richard Davis said.

Western Australian State Representative Donna Cocking started softly with the remark that she would - be more gentle, and then raised real dollar issues for caravan park owners and managers across Australia. What do we do now? she asked. What do we tell our people? Some of our parks have put up to 40 years into building their STAR rating position, she said.

At this stage we have no STAR rating assessors, she said.

Victorian Director David McIvor of Eldorado Tourist Park
Victorian Director David McIvor of Eldorado Tourist Park

Peter Blackwell's response that two assessors were to be trained to handle Western Australia left the question of when they would be in the field un-answered.

Earlier Blackwell said AAA Tourism assessors had failed to work with caravan parks and this was part of his vision for re-positioning the STAR rating process.

I respect small business owners, he said. AAA Tourism must add value for you. We must provide customers.We must grow the market. We have got to lead and we must use positive brands, Peter Blackwell said.

BIG4 Chairman Roger Powell now has the task of helping to take the STARS review process forward, Peter Blackwell said.

Caravan park owners and managers in Top Tourist Parks, Family Parks and BIG4 chains have raised concerns of a potential for perceptions of conflicting interest.

Peter Blackwell said this selection had not been made with any intention of frustrating Top Tourist Parks of Australia.

SA State representative Richard Davis 023
SA State representative Richard Davis 023

He has been selected because he has the tools to open the doors across Australia in a strategic review program and give it life.

He said the objective was to get the automobile clubs of Australia seriously engaged in presenting STARS and implementing it successfully.

Any perceived bias is going to be mitigated, Peter Blackwell said.

Assessors will be trained to view you (park owners and managers) as partners, Peter Blackwell said.

He said the review timing was the end of April with (auto club) board review in May and delivery at the end of July.

Editor's Note: Also see-

WA Director Donna Cocking of Mandurah Caravan & Tourist Park
WA Director Donna Cocking of Mandurah Caravan Tourist Park